Transport Canada, the agency responsible for regulating cruising in Canadian waters, has announced a year-long ban on commercial cruising in all Canadian waters. This ban is intended to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. It effectively shuts down cruising to Alaska, the Canadian Maritimes, and potentially the Great Lakes region.
When contacted for comment, Stephen Burnett, Exec. Director of the Great Lakes Cruise Association said, “We totally respect the Canadian Government’s decision to suspend cruise operations in Canada for ships carrying in excess of 100 persons (including crew and guests). However we are deeply concerned for our cruise partners who have expressed an interest in developing voyages which will visit US ports and remain in US water for the remainder of the 2021 season”. Vessels owned by these firms will have been laid up for 24 months and crew members totally out of work”
Similarly, Cruise Lines International Association- North West & Canada (CLIA-NWC), says they are "surprised by the length of the extension of the Government of Canada’s ‘No-Sail Order’." You can read the entire statement here.
According to the Canadian government announcement, "There is no national ban for smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people. They must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority protocols for timelines and processes around their operations." This caveat may be the key to allowing continued cruising on the Great Lakes, as operators could choose to sail with fewer than 100 people.
We will post updates here as we learn more.
Gary Rinne, of tbnewswatch.com reports that Thunder Bay cruises will be blessed with a new option as Viking Cruises, sends their newest vessel, the Octantis to the Great Lakes in 2022. The Viking Expedition "Great Lakes Explorer" Cruise is an 8 Day Cruise between Milwaukee and Thunder Bay. Currently nearing completion in a European shipyard, the Octanis will make the trip from Milwaukee to Thunder Bay seven times in 2022.
Passengers on this 2022 Great Lakes cruise will arrive or depart by air, with a pre- and post- cruise hotel stay in Thunder Bay. The ship will be in port for about 48 hours on each visit.
Read the full story here.